Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 5:

I am on a two-week writing hiatus. As of last Friday, I am spending an entire fortnight doing absolutely no writing. Why, you ask. Hmm. I sense the approach of bullet points.
  • Since the beginning of the year I have written 2 complete novels and rewrote/thoroughly edited a 3rd.
  • I have a ridiculously neglected house.
  • My children & husband miss me.
  • I miss me.
During my hiatus I am:

  • helping kids with homework
  • watching movies with the kids after homework is done
  • dating my husband
While the little darlings are at school I am:
  • stripping wallpaper that has been on the wall longer than I have been on the earth.
  • re-caulking the shower & tub
  • painting walls
  • climbing a lot of ladders and otherwise doing things that are kind of fun, a little intimidating, not necessarily safe for a klutz like myself, and entirely necessary
Have you had enough bullet points? I'm sort of on a roll with them, huh?

Well, one more, just for the fun of it. During this self-imposed exile from the world of writing, I had the privilege of giving my very first interview. That's right, folks, I was interviewed. Check it out:

Onya, mate!

See you Friday for this week's installment of I Need Friends Friday. You'll laugh. You'll cry. (You'll mostly just laugh.)


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, she liked my book, anyway.

I have this rule--and it's a pretty unbreakable rule--about reading reviews of my books. I don't. Read them, that is. I have this tendency to get all self-critical and defeatist when I read a bad review of my stuff. I get despondent when I read a chew-em-up-and-spit-em-out review. I even get all overly-analytical when I read a good review that doesn't essentially declare my book the greatest work of literary achievement in the history of modern publishing--what did I do wrong? I ask myself. It's a sickness. So I simply refuse to read reviews; far better for my mental health.

Every once in a while I break my own rule and peek at a review. But, I always seem to break that rule when the review turns out to be depression-inducing. (Lest you think I have masses of acidic critiques out there, I've only broken this rule 5 times: 2 were very good reviews; 1 was relatively neutral; 1 was pretty critical; 1 did everything but tell me I had ugly children.)

I broke that rule again a couple days ago. And I am very, very glad I did. Jump on over to M. Gray's blog to read a fantastic review of SEEKING PERSEPHONE by someone who obviously knows what she's talking about.

ignore "Read More"-->


Friday, September 25, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is Marsha Ward, an award-winning freelance writer and editor who has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. Marsha works with other writers as a mentor, creative consultant, editor, workshop presenter, contest judge, coach and teacher. In 1986 she founded the American Night Writers Association (ANWA). [All this information was stolen, very nearly verbatim, from Marsha's website because I thought it sounded very professional and I did not want to have to try to rewrite it and mess the whole thing up.]

Let's get to know Marsha!

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Marsha: I'm so happy to be here!

SME: As I'm sure you know, I ask some pretty deep, hard-hitting and insightful questions around here. Today will be no different. So, let's start by getting to know you a little better. Question #1: What is your favorite pie?

Marsha: My sister makes this killer pumpkin chiffon pie that I love, but regular pumpkin pie is also good. With lashings of whipped cream on top. The real kind, not that whip stuff.

SME: Oh, man! I love pumpkin pie. Creamy, orange goodness!! So Thanksgiving must be pretty enjoyable for you.

Marsha: I do enjoy Thanksgiving. Family, Friends, Food. What could be better?

SME: Family, Friends, Food. That sounds like a pretty good summary of INFF. Half the people I interview are related to me. I'm making friends. And I inevitably talk about food.

Marsha: Awesome!

SME: Alright. Investigative question #2: What was the make/model of the first car you ever owned?

Marsha: My first car? That would be a Ford Fairlane with fins, but not the huge fins. I don't recall the year, but I bought it back in the mid 60s from my girlfriend's boyfriend.

SME: So you bought it used, I assume. How used was it?

Marsha: It was used. It had to be a 60 or slightly later. It was a great starter car. We used to have gasoline wars in Phoenix, and I could get gas for $.25 a gallon

SME: Holy crumb-ola! $.25 a gallon. I cannot even imagine. I have mini celebrations if I find gas for under $2.25 a gallon.

Marsha: Yeah. Times have changed, haven't they. When I went on a mission for the LDS church, my sister drove the car. She hit a bump real hard and broke a spring.

SME: And did it then have to go to the great auto-junkyard in the sky?

Marsha: It may have still been around when I returned from my mission. I'm hazy on what happened to that car, though. Maybe it just went down the line of siblings.

SME: Okay, now for the question I simply must ask each and every week. What is your favorite continent?

Marsha: Hmmm, that's a tough question. I think South America, because I lived there for two years. The avocados are HUGE! And, yanno, food is important when you're picking your favorite continent.

SME: You are the first INFF Friend to pick South America. I'm pretty excited. Where in South America did you live?

Marsha: I bounced between Colombia and Venezuela. Good times, with all the armed guards standing around during elections, curfews to try to observe, airline pilots who would let you into the cockpit if you were a cute American, stuff like that.

SME: Now that we've learned some very vital facts about you, I think it's time to play a game. What do you think?

Marsha: Sounds good!

SME: This is a game I particularly like. I call this game "Putting the Guess in Guest." This week, though, there's a theme.

Marsha: A theme? Exciting!

SME: In honor of you, Marsha, the questions are all Western Trivia. Get them right and you will be crowned the Champion of INFF. Get them wrong and it will have absolutely no impact on any aspect of your life, whatsoever.

Marsha: Except I'll lose face with my fans. Pretty big impact, I think. I need more chocolate!

SME: I'm thinking you'll either get them right because you'll be able to figure it out, or the questions will be so random that no one will care if you get them wrong.
I will give you three questions with three possible answers each. Your job will be to figure out which answer is correct. In other words, guess.

Marsha: Guess? I can do that.

SME: You ready to give this a go?

Marsha: I'm lining up the Kisses to fuel the guessing.

SME: Yes. Chocolate can help in most any situation.
First question: What was the most common cause of death for a cowboy?
1.) Accidents involving horses
2.) Gunshot wounds
3.) Broken hearts, because their backstabbing weasel of a brother stole their fiance

Marsha: I see you've read my books.

SME: Sneaky promotion of my INFF friend's books? Who? Me?

Marsha: Actually, I'm going for number 1, since that's more likely than gunshot wounds or broken hearts.

SME: You are correct!!

Marsha: Yay for me!

SME: Second Question: What would a cowboy do with chaps?
1.) He'd throw on a little lip balm and "the chaps" would clear up in a day or two
2.) His chaps, or good friends, would hang with him out at the ranch
3.) He'd wear them, possibly while riding over the dangerous Raton Pass

Marsha: Well, since chaps comes from the Spanish chaparreras, or riding chaps, he'd do #3, but more frequently, he'd use them to protect his legs while riding through heavy brush as he chased cows

SME: Impressive. And correct!!

Marsha: Thank you. It was nothing. I only had to pull out one reference book. Just kidding. It was a Spanish/English dictionary. Then I had to remember that ch is a separate letter in Spanish.

SME: Okay, last question. You are one answer away from being crowned Champion of INFF--which comes with absolutely no perks, benefits or recognition, by the way.
About how long did the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral last?
1.) thirty seconds
2.) Just under five minutes
3.) Not nearly as long as it takes some people to get engaged to the wrong person and then have to straighten all that out

Marsha: I believe #1 is correct, but if not, I'll choose #2. #3 is totally outlandish. It couldn't have taken so long as it did for poor Carl to find out he'd hooked up with a backstabbing girl whose main ambition in life was to live in town and have lots of chocolates and fine clothing.
Or for Ellen to break poor James's heart.

SME: Hmm. or Jessie getting engaged to Ned, for that matter. Man. You have some really confused characters.

Marsha: Characters need conflicts and tough problems in life, or they're no fun.

SME: The correct answer was, indeed, #1: thirty seconds. How very, very true about problem-plagued characters.

Marsha: In life, we try to resolve problems quickly, but in novels, we poor writer saps have to pile on the troubles or no one will read our works of fiction.

SME: We seem to enjoy creating characters who are even dumber about life issues than we are. Could that be a psychiatric problem, do you think?

Marsha: Oh yes, writers are probably all nuts, except for you and me.

SME: If I'm not nuts, than the rest of the writing world is in real trouble.

Marsha: You are not going to trick me into saying you're nuts!!!

SME: There is, of course, the glaring evidence of a certain video presentation I made for the ANWA retreat this past summer. That wasn't exactly the work of a sane woman.

Marsha: I thought it was well thought out, brilliantly executed, and the work of a totally sane and clever writer. Although it was kinda wacky!

SME: Well, I do take particular pride in the fantastic job I did summing up THE MAN FROM SHENANDOAH.

Marsha: Yes, that was entirely awesome!

SME: I thought you might say that, so I have created a couple other "unique" summaries for you... if you'd like to hear them.

Marsha: Of course! I can't wait!

SME: Awesome.

James: (On horseback) So, it's pretty crazy that we're married, huh?
Amparo: (also on horseback) Como?
James: (still on horseback) This Raton Pass is a beast, isn't it?
Amparo: (also still on horseback) Como?
James: (yep... horseback) Is it just me, or is it getting really, really cold?
Amparo: (you guessed it) Como?


Marsha: Good thing I wasn't drinking anything. I'd send you a bill for a new keyboard.

SME: So, a success!

Marsha: Yes indeed!

SME: Alright, TRAIL OF STORMS, or Life Lessons from Jessie:

Marsha: I can't wait

SME: "If you find out that the guy you're in love with is married and so you accept another guy's proposal and then find out that the first guy isn't married but you're still engaged to the second guy ... that can make your life kind of complicated."

Marsha: That sounds like a hard life lesson. I wonder how she worked it out?

SME: Wait. If you don't know...

Marsha: I guess we'll all have to read TRAIL OF STORMS to find out.

SME: I guess so.

Marsha: You didn't see that coming?

SME: See it coming? I set it up rather nicely, I thought.

Marsha: Brilliant!

SME: And, now, it's time for the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

*In a wave of anticipatory silence, I produce yet another bit of artistic amazingness.*

SME: Voila!

Marsha: Ohhhh! That's so cute! How did you know my boots had spurs?

SME: I'm a boot expert. Aren't people from Arizona supposed to be boot experts?
OK. Actually, I guessed. And I thought it looked cool.

Marsha: It does look cool!

SME: They are also very colorful--another must for boots.

Marsha: Absolutely. However, the spurs do make a racket when I walk around the house. I sometimes have to take them off indoors.

SME: I'm glad you like the portrait. I think it just might be my favorite western-themed stick figure portrait I have ever drawn.

Marsha: How many have you drawn?

SME: Ur.. umm... just this one. But it's still my favorite!

Marsha: It's my favorite western-themed stick figure portrait drawn by Sarah M. Eden!

SME: I'm glad we are in agreement on this.

Marsha: Well, Friday Friends need to stick together

SME: And, now, the Final Question. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Marsha: 1-I have a new Friday Friend
2-I love to talk about continents--and writing
3-Boots with spurs are HOT!
4-I do believe people are going to check out TRAIL OF STORMS to find out how Jessie worked out her hard life lesson thingy
5-You made me laugh!

Marsha: I like to laugh, a lot.

SME: All excellent reasons. I rather enjoy talking about continents, myself. I also like to laugh. And I really hope people do check out TRAIL OF STORMS (I think that's a record number of links--bonus!!).

Marsha: I hope I can be your friend all the other days of the week, yes?

SME: Once you have been a Friday Friend, you are a friend forever!

Marsha: I'm so glad. You're an excellent friend.

SME: Thanks for stopping by INFF, this has been a blast! *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing a long a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 4:

Hmm... What should we talk about today? I have not yet received my "list of death" from my editor. Lest you worry that my authorness is dying of boredom, I do have other projects to keep me busy in the meantime. I thought you might enjoy a little glimpse into how/where I work. Yes? Okay, if you insist.

Sometimes I work at my local library, sometimes at the desk in my home office (a really cluttered back bedroom), sometimes at the kitchen table. Lately, I've been at the table--mostly because I'm too lazy to change out of my pajamas, which means the Library is out, and I need a lot of room to spread out all my junk, so the desk in the back won't cut it, either.

Oh, yes, there's a picture. And a key.

A- The manuscript of one of my many works in progress, complete with markings indicating its many shortcomings and flaws. There are a lot of markings. It probably has a complex.
B- Water. It's hot around here.
C- My laptop, which I only use to do serious, dedicated writing and editing. Er... uh... ignore the solitaire. Obviously, my computer has some sort of virus.
D- My main source of nourishment. Cheetos make me very, very happy.
E- The 3-ring binder where I keep all my notes. And, um, highlighters in many bright colors. Happiness in a pen. Joy.
F- I also have a great many reference books written by authors who are a lot smarter than I am. These books explain, in very small words, most of the things I'm doing wrong. Very helpful. Very.

Wow. That was exceptionally boring. Welcome to the glamorous life of an author.

Yep, that's the ridgie didgie post. Hey, I never promised every walkabout would be a bonzer.

ps- Come back Friday for, I Need Friends Friday. You won't be sorry!


Friday, September 18, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is author Rachel Rossano. Rachel can be found at Her books are available at And, I get bonus points for today's interview because, for the first time since beginning I Need Friends Friday, I am interviewing someone I have never met before. Suh-weet!!

Time to make a friend!

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Rachel: Thank you

SME: I thought, since you're an author, I'd ask you a few questions that delve deep into the life of a writer.

Rachel: Sounds good. So, what do you want to know?

SME: I, personally, require empty calories when I write. Do you have a favorite "writing food"?

Rachel: I like fries, Subway sandwiches, or chips best. Chocolate is always good.

SME: Okay, gotta ask: dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Rachel: Milk! I love my sugar.

SME: While there are no "correct" answers on INFF, milk chocolate is the correct answer.
Okay, next insightful authorifying question: I once wrote an entire chapter of a book at the post office while waiting for my husband to bring me the spare keys because I'd locked myself out of my car. Where is the strangest place you've written?

Rachel: Hmm . . . I guess the tablecloth at a resturant would be the winner. The tablecloth was paper.

SME: Okay. I essentially had a heartattack until you said the tablecloth was paper. Hahaha!!! I'm picturing you trying to convince the restaurant to let you keep their linens!!

Rachel: I wrote the beginnings of a chapter before the first course.

SME: I once rewrote a scene in the margins of a bus schedule. That was hard to transcribe after the fact. I now carry a notepad everywhere I go.

Rachel: I have planned out a whole novel over lunch with a friend.

SME: Did the friend know you were doing this, or was it done in your mind while you nodded and gave vague answers?

Rachel: She helped. Actually, it was her novel.

SME: Author question #3: What kind of responses do you get from people they find out your an author?

Rachel: "What do you write? Are you published? I have this novel idea . . ."

SME: So people pitch you ideas? That's awesome in a really funny way. What kind of ideas have you heard?

Rachel: Most of them are vague ideas. I haven't heard anything concrete yet.

SME: They essentially say, "I have this idea for a book. This guys meets this girl, but it doesn't work out at first. Then after awhile they get together." And you're thinking "Genius!"

Rachel: Something like that.

SME: Wow. If only I'd thought of that idea sooner . . . Oh, wait. That's pretty much every book I've ever written.
Okay. I have a question I am actually dying to ask you. Maybe not "actually" dying.

Rachel: No dying allowed.

SME: Your book "The Mercenary's Marriage" is about a mercenary who rescues a woman who is a slave after the end of a seige and then must work to earn her trust and love---great plot premise, by the way. I have absolutely no idea what a mercenary is.

Rachel: A mercenary is a soldier who is being paid to fight for someone. In Darius' case, he is Ratharian, yet he is fighting in the service of a Braulian king for spoils of war.

SME: So a mercenary is like a soldier-for-hire?

Rachel: Yup, exactly.

SME: Were mercenary's looked down on or were they kind of respected? 'Cause I would think the soldiers who were fighting for their country out of duty would think the mercenaries were kind of losers, or greedy or something. Then, again, if the mercenaries were good enough soldiers to get paid to do it, they probably could womp on the other soldiers.

Rachel: They were looked down on. This is especially true in my book, because of their ethinicity. Ratharians are seen as outsiders, barbarians.

SME: Did they kind of have to watch their backs, then?

Rachel: Yeah.

SME: Yikes. Talk about occupational hazards.

Rachel: Definitely.

SME: Your books are fantasy, I know that. They take place in a fantasy setting that is a lot like medieval Europe, would that be a good description?

Rachel: Yup

SME: Do you base the people, customs, etc. on medieval times---have you researched that time period and adapted it---or have you invented it entirely?

Rachel: Almost all the cultures are a mishmash. Braulyn is a bit of a rough early Britain. Anavrea is like a later more cultured Britain or France. Ratharia is like India or Persia. Sardmara is barbaric and harsh.

SME: Cool.
In true INFF fashion, I have a game for you to play. You wanna give it a go?

Rachel: Sure.

SME: In this game, which I invented myself, I am going to cast myself in the role of a generic person in your fantasy world and I want you to tell me what my life would be like. At the end of the game, I'll decide which job I would like to have. Who knows, maybe you'll have a marvelous plot idea while you're playing!
(*Note from SME: I have essentially just asked Rachel to invent characters off the top of her head without any time to think about it. Yes, that was extremely mean of me. I wasn't sure how this would go because that isn't an easy task. Read on and prepare to be impressed.)

Rachel: Sounds like fun.

SME: Okay, first "job." If I were royalty, what would my life be like?

Rachel: You look like a princess, the second daughter of a great king. You are interested in books and not in marrying some young man your father picked out.

SME: Hmmm. Arranged marriages. Hadn't thought of that. Definitely a point against this job.

If I were a soldier, what would my life be like? (Assuming I were a guy, of course.)

Rachel: A warrior to be feared, skillful and honorable, you would be destined for greater things than a life on the battlefield. However, you wouldn't actively seek those rewards. Instead you would concentrate on giving your best for king and country at risk of life and limb.

SME: I sound very noble!!

Rachel: I am a bit hard on my character's, though. Expect plenty of blood and pain.

SME: Ah, yes, the "occupational hazards." Although my hair looks GREAT in that picture, so that's a point in favor.

What would life be like for me as a court jester?

Rachel: Ah, the faithful jester. Your life hangs on the thread of your entertainment value. Make the king laugh and you live. Make him sad and you die.

SME: Which would make me sad. So, as much as I enjoy being nutty and off-beat, I'm thinking I've found another occupation with too many hazards.

Lastly, what would my life be like if I were a scribe? (Seemed like a good fit.)

Rachel: Male or female?

SME: Ooh, good question. Which option has fewer "occupational hazards?"

Rachel: Hard to tell.

SME: Then perhaps I should go with girl, just for kicks.

Rachel: A female scribe in a world of males, you struggle to hide your identity. Your skill with the pen, excellent memory, and beautiful handwriting make you valuable, but only as long as they see you as a boy.

SME: What happens to me if a fellow scribe taps me on the shoulder and says "I know what you are." Am I in trouble if he tells someone else?

Rachel: Yeah, you would get thrown out of the vargar to starve or worse.

SME: Sheesh! Well, I've officially decided that, while I think I would enjoy reading about your characters, I don't particularly want to be one of your characters.

Rachel: Same here.

SME: But, since this game requires that I choose something . . . If I chose the princess and you wrote in an arranged marriage, would the guy turn out be a good guy in the end and we'd live happily ever after and all that??

Rachel: Yup. They just have to go through a few trials first.

SME: Then I pick that. Whew!! That game turned out to be stressful---for me!

Rachel: Sorry.

SME: Back to the modern world, and not a moment too soon.
A couple hard-hitting questions still remain: #1-- what is your favorite kind of cake?

Rachel: Angel food.

SME: Delicious!!
What is your favorite continent?

Rachel: Europe. So much culture in such a small spaces.

SME: Alright! So far 2 of my INFF friends have voted for Europe. Excellent.

And now that we've tackled the deep, probing issues, I believe it is time for a highlight of INFF: the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

Rachel: Cool!

*The smell of markers fills the air while I create my latest masterpiece.*

Rachel: It looks great. I look so thin, and I love the boots.

SME: I know you live in the eastern US, so I thought rain boots would be handy this time of year. They're orange, 'cause orange pretty much rocks.

Rachel: I love boots. I don't have enough of them.

SME: And I need to confess that I experienced a bout of very real jealousy over your curly hair. I'm better now, but it took a great deal of sugar-therapy.

Rachel: Sorry, I came by it naturally. At least you never cried over huge snarls when your mother brushed your hair as a kid.

SME: True. There are benefits to pencil-straight locks.
Well, it's time for the traditional Final Question. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Rachel: 1) I got to chat with Sarah M. Eden, one of my favorite authors.
2) I got to make up characters on the spot.
3) I had a ton of fun.
4) I got to talk about my book and writing, always a favorite topic.
5) I got a portrait that makes me look thin.

SME: Those are 5 excellent answers. I love my stick figure portrait for that exact same reason. And, by the way, great job on the impromptu characterization---I know that isn't easy and you were fantastic.

Rachel: Thank you. I was sweating it a bit there, but it was fun.

SME: Maybe something in there will actually be useful for you someday, who knows!
Thanks a ton for stopping by for INFF, it was great to finally meet you.

Rachel: Thank you. It has been wonderful getting to meet you, too.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 3:

I am sort of in-between tasks on my soon-too-be-published-for-real book. By "for real," I mean "published by a company that is an actual publishing company with an actual presence in the industry." Nice. I turned in all the things I was asked for (reference Walkabout, Week 1) and am now off the hook until I receive my list of edits.

This, of course, does not mean I am not busy. Being the insane, stressed out author that I am, I have other projects going on in the background. But, as Walkabouts are about my experiences as a brand new traditionally published author, I'm not going to digress into all that jazz.

One of the things I was asked to provide to Covenant was a list of title suggestions. These won't necessarily be used, but it was my opportunity to give some input and participate in the brainstorming session the Title Pickers will eventually hold.

Now, one thing that must be understood about me . . . Titles are the shards of broken glass in the ice cream sundae of my writing career---I have a hard time picking them out. Being the intelligent person that I am, I asked for help.

The other night I got together with several members of my extended family. Some of them have read the manuscript of this book, others have not. I gave a brief summary and asked them for any title suggestions.

Imagine, if you will, that feeling you get late at night when you're so exhausted that only thing keeping you awake is massive quantities of sugar coupled with pure, unadulterated adrenaline. This would be the state of mind in which Monty Python and the Holy Grail suddenly becomes the absolute funniest, most ingenious movie of all time. This is also the mind-frame in which I found my family the night of our title brainstorming session.

Allow me to share with you a few of the suggestions that were not at all usable, but were highly entertaining. Keep in mind, this book is a historical romance and the two main characters names are Harry and Athena.

In the "Harry's Name as a Pun" category:
  • A Very Harry Guy
  • Harry, Harry Quite Contrary
In the "Titles That Are Funny in a Really Lame Way" category:
  • This Is a Really Good Book
  • Harry *Heart*s Athena (and vice versa)
In the "Titles That Have Nothing To Do With The Book But Would Probably Help Sell More Copies" category:
  • How To Get A Date With Robert Pattinson
  • Harry Potter, Book 8
In the "Titles That Shamelessly Abuse Athena's Name" category:
  • How Do You Solve a Problem Like Athena?
  • Athena, Which One of The Greeks Was She?
And, finally, the winner and champion. From the "Titles That Indicated We'd Reached the Maximum Level of Sleep-Deprivation" category:
  • I'll Take Two Tacos and an Athena Supreme

Like I said, titles are not really my thing. I gave some suggestions, but I'm planning to just let the experts handle it!

Thought I'd hoick those at ya. Sure, some are a bit tinny, but I figure, as long as I'm taking all my mates on this Walkabout, I might as well give it heaps. (More Aussie slang. Who says you don't learn stuff on this blog!?!)

ps - Don't forget to come back for I Need Friends Friday. It's gonna be awesome!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is the amazing Ashleigh Miller. She is a Pilates instructor at Maximum Pilates in Phoenix, AZ, a dancer and a fabulous person. She also happens to be a member of my extended family. Is that cheating?

Here we go!

SME: Welcome to INFF!

Ashleigh: Thank you! I'm very excited to be here

SME: I happen to know - because I am very informed about these kinds of things - that you are a Pilates instructor.

Ashleigh: Yes! I am.

SME: So what the heck is Pilates?

Ashleigh: Pilates is bottled joy!

SME: Wow. Sounds fascinating. Can you expound on this bottle of joyfulness?

Ashleigh: Pilates is a type of exercise.

SME: Exercise. I see. That has always been sort of a vulgar word for me.

Ashleigh: Exercise is a yucky word for a lot of people. That is why I like Pilates. It is actually really fun, if you're doing it right

SME: Define "fun," 'cause I'm not buying it.

Ashleigh: We stretch, we strengthen, we use springs to go upside-down.

SME: Sounds like a very good way for me to injure myself.

Ashleigh: Well, first you don't get injured if you have an awesome instructor.

SME: Like yourself.

Ashleigh: That helps.

SME: Describe a typical exercise.

Ashleigh: It's hard to explain but I'll try. The first thing we do is Roll Down. You start flat on your back, bring your hands in front of you and try to "roll" your torso off the floor.

SME: Sounds like a crunch. I don't like crunches.

Ashleigh: It's like a crunch, but the hardest part is the technique. You have to pull your stomach muscles down as you roll up. The body doesn't naturally like to do that.

SME: Wow. Complicated. This is why a person attempting Pilates would benefit from an instructor, such as yourself.

Ashleigh: Yes!!! Definitely. I've heard too many horror stories of people getting injured in gym classes. It is important to have a trained instructor.

SME: I got injured in HomeEc, so I was dead meat in gym class.

Ashleigh: You just need to be watched extra carefully. Maybe with extra squishy pads.

SME: What first got you interested in Pilates?

Ashleigh: I started Pilates because I was suffering from hip and knee problems. And I thought, I'm in my 20's; this can't be good.

SME: So you thought, the ultimate solution must have something to do with "using springs to hang upside-down"??

Ashleigh: I didn't know it was that cool, but yes. My good friend Heather teaches Pilates. She told me about it. Pilates balances the way we use our muscles. That sounded like what I needed. I tried it and It fixed my joint issues.

SME: So, basically, the stretching and strengthening is good for your joints and stuff.

Ashleigh: Holy Crap is it ever! I have one client who says that she can actually get up in the morning and walk around right away instead of being stiff and hobbling around until 10 when her body finally warmed up. I love stories like that.

SME: That almost makes me wish I'd done Pilates this morning instead of taking that nap that I enjoyed so very thoroughly. (Notice I said almost - I have a long way to go.)

Ashleigh: So, I have a question for you. Is that allowed?

SME: You can ask any question you want. I just won't necessarily answer it.

Ashleigh: What is it like having a friend who is a Pilates instructor? Do you feel guilty when you see me?

SME: I do find myself thinking, "When was the last time I had a good stretch doing something other than reaching for the bag of Cheetos way on the top shelf?" But then I think about how much I enjoyed the Cheetos and *poof* the guilt is gone.

Ashleigh: That's great! I've wondered because I noticed some people stand up straighter when they see me. Incidentally, you are not one of those people.

SME: Um. Thanks. I think. *rolls eyes* I'm going to very abruptly change the subject without bothering to attempt a smooth transition, 'cause I'm done talking about healthy things.

You also teach dance. What kind of dance do you teach? And are there springs involved?

Ashleigh: No springs in dance. I love teaching it, though. I see dance as an extension of Pilates. It's just learning how to use the body in ways that push our potential.

SME: Balance and stuff, right? 'Cause balance pushes my potential. What kind of dance do you teach? Ballet? Jazz? Bavarian Polka?

Ashleigh: I teach Ballet. I've unfortunately never formally learned the Polka. Though I tried variations at High School dances.

SME: Didn't we all. "Variations" is a good way of describing most High School dances.

Ashleigh: Isn't it? I loved them for that reason. When else was it socially acceptable to fling limbs?

SME: I always thought calling them "dances" was sort of misleading. Prom = Dancing? No. Prom = hours of rampant awkwardness.

Ashleigh: I miss that. Not the awkwardness. Just the limb flinging.

SME: Okay. Now for the hard-hitting questions: What's your favorite continent?

Ashleigh: My favorite is the North America continent

SME: Excellent choice.

Ashleigh: I thought so. Gotta represent, ya'know.

SME: Next: what, in your opinion, is the best thing about the month of September?

Ashleigh: I got engaged in September, so it always reminds me of those fun times with my hubby!

SME: Fabulous answer. 'Cause in the off-chance he reads this interview, you've just scored massive wife points.

Ashleigh: Yessssss! (Napoleon Dynamite style)

SME: What is your dream job??

Ashleigh: Dream Job... I really love what I do. I'd love also to dance professionally again. I think that is the only thing I'd add at this point.

SME: With your bum joints? Pshaw!! Oh, wait. You got that fixed using springs. My bad.

Ashleigh: Springs are good for that.

SME: How are springs at cleaning a house?

Ashleigh: Not so good.

SME: Dang. I'll be professional and work through my disappointment by veering into a fun, new segment of INFF. Are you ready?

Ashleigh: Oh yes.

SME: This segment I have entitled "Putting the Guess in Guest."

Ashleigh: I like it!

SME: I am going to ask you, my friend and guest, four completely random questions with absolutely no connection to one another on topics you may or may not have ever heard of, the answers to which are pretty much inconsequential, anyway. Get them right and you will be crowned the Champion of INFF.

Ashleigh: I've always wanted to be champion of something

SME: Today could be your day.

Ashleigh: Here's hoping

SME: First Question: This past weekend police in Columbus, Ohio were able to nab a robbery suspect because he did what?

a.) Robbed a bank on his lunchbreak and forgot to remove his work nametag.
b.) Wrote his ransom note on the back of a personal check - HIS personal check.
c.) Returned to the scene of the crime to ask his victim out on a date.
d.) Parked his getaway vehicle in a tow-away zone and had to flee on foot.

Ashleigh: Oo! I love these. Um... I have to pick C because that would make my day!

SME: Ding, ding, ding! That is correct, Ashleigh!

Ashleigh: YES! (Happy dance, happy dance)

SME: Alright. One for one. Here comes your next question: Which of the following is not an actual diet advocated by actual people?

a.) First popularized in the early 1900s by an eccentric San Francisco businessman named Horace Fletcher, the Mega-Bite Diet insisted that all food be deliberately chewed until it turned into liquid and "swallowed itself."
b.) Breatharians believe that eating is an acquired habit and that air and sunlight should be our primary forms of sustenance. Subsist on little to no food, the diet says, and you will lose weight.
c.) Based on the idea that birds are the healthiest members of the animal kingdom, the "Avian Diet" dictates that followers consume only eggs and poultry. This diet dropped in popularity with the emergence of the Avian Flu in the early part of this century.

Ashleigh: Wow, really any of those are possible. I will choose... C.

SME: So you believe that the Mega-Bite Diet and the Breatharian Diet are actual, honest-to-goodness diet plans?

Ashleigh: Yes. Sadly I've heard of stranger plans.

SME: You are correct!

Ashleigh: Wahoo! (fist pump!)

SME: Third Question: What is the name of my family's pet goldfish?
a.) Hungry, Hungry Fish-o
b.) Hannibal
c.) Fish-brains
d.) Herbert Hoover

Ashleigh: I have heard stories about your infamous fish. I go with B.

SME: You, my friend, are a genius! Okay. It all comes down to this last question: According to Hostess, what happens to a Twinkie after being cooked in the microwave for 45 seconds?

a.) The Twinkie's creme filling will boil and turn translucent.
b.) The Twinkie will catch fire.
c.) The Twinkie will explode.
d.) The Twinkie will disintegrate.
e.) Absolutely nothing.

Ashleigh: E. Definitely.

SME: The answer, I'm afraid, is c. The Twinkie will explode.

Ashleigh: What?! Oh.. I'm sad but also intrigued.

SME: I, personally, would like to know how Hostess found this out. I'm picturing people in white lab coats gathered around a microwave laughing hysterically. 'Cause exploding Twinkies... that's funny!

Ashleigh!: Seriously. I might have new plans for this Friday Night.

Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

*My new friend waits patiently while I create yet another masterpiece. The suspense builds.*
SME: Here you go!

So, I know it's hard to tell, because it's a stick figure, but I drew you with jazz hands. Genius, I know.

Ashleigh: That is brilliant!

SME: And I included some stylish leg warmers.

Ashleigh: It's like looking in a mirror, except I don't have any leg warmers that are that cool. I might have to fix that...

SME: And that brings us to the final question of this riveting interview. Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Ashleigh: 1. I got to spend on-line time with one of my favorite sisters-in law.
2. I got to laugh out loud several times while spending on-line time with one of my favorite sisters-in-law.
3. I got an awesome stick-figure picture of me.
4. I got to sit on the couch and eat for an hour without feeling guilty.
5. I've been added to official list of Sarah M. Eden Friends!

SME: Fabulous! Thanks for joining us on INFF. This has been fun. Enjoy the awesome portrait.

Ashleigh!: Thank you for having me!

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

(I'm bringing along a few of my mates as I wander through the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, and having a grand adventure.)

Walkabout, Week 2:

What a week I've had. A wise person once said, "Men make plans and Heaven laughs." I have lived that saying over the past seven days. I had a schedule all worked out, planned to the last detail. Yep. Didn't happen.

So, Monday night and Tuesday morning I played catch-up. *dum-duh-duh-dum* I have finished all the items on my editor's to-do list (for now)! Is it conceited of me to say that I really, really, really enjoyed rereading the manuscript they are picking up? I hadn't read it in awhile - in fact, I have written quite a few things since then and had forgotten how much fun it was to write.

My stuff is in. I'm taking a few deep breaths and waiting.

According to my reliable sources, the fun is about to begin. In the very near future I should receive a tangled, bloodied mess of a manuscript back from my remarkably intelligent editor along with a long list of things to fix, adjust, tweak, cut, add, etc., etc., etc.

I can't wait. That either makes me masochistic, or it makes me an author. Either way.

No worries, mate!
She'll be apples. (Look that expression up. It's a beaut.)

PS - Don't forget to come back for "I Need Friends" Friday.

(ignore "read more")

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's that time of the week:

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow-author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's friend is the talented Aubrey Mace. She is the author of two novels, My Fairy Grandmother released earlier this year and Spare Change, the 2008 Whitney Award winner for "Best Romance." Her third novel, Santa Maybe, will be out this month.


SME: Welcome to I Need Friends Friday.

Aubrey: Thank you. I'm so excited to be your Friday friend.

SME: So, tell us a little about yourself. (Do you like how I optimistically assume there will be other people reading this?)

Aubrey: Umm... that's kind of broad. What would you like to know?

SME: I am SO glad you asked. Essential question #1: What is your favorite cookie?

Aubrey: These lemon drop sugar cookies from this place by me called Smart Cookie. To. Die. For. They also have almond.

SME: And are they truly "smart"? Or is that just a clever marketing ploy?

Aubrey: I don't feel so smart after I've eaten a few. Yet I keep going back...

SME: Sounds smart to me.

Aubrey: I think it's the schload of cream cheese frosting that really gets me.

SME: Cream cheese is one of the necessary food groups.

Aubrey: Absolutely. Anything is better with cream cheese, right? Like cream cheese wontons. Mmmmm.

SME: Essential question #2: What is your favorite continent?

Aubrey: My favorite continent? Probably Europe. They have cream cheese, right?

SME: Cream cheese capital of the world. Have you ever been to Europe?

Aubrey: I have. I went with my sister for a graduation present from my parents.

SME: *dealing with sudden burst of blinding jealousy* Where in Europe did you go?

Aubrey: One of those whirlwind tours where you see eight countries in thirteen days. It was awesome. We went to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, France, England, etc.

SME: So sort of the travel version of an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.

Aubrey: Exactly. And this was before the Euro, so every time we turned around, the currency changed.

SME: Which country was your favorite?

Aubrey: Probably Italy, if I had to choose. But London was great.

SME: *Sudden increase in jealousy. Dealing with it. Dealing with it.* I've always wanted to go to London.

Aubrey: Hey-- maybe we could go together!

SME: What did you do there?

Aubrey: We went with a tour group with an average age of 65. So mainly we just tried not to irritate the rest of the group with our "youthful exuberance". Plus, London was at the beginning of the trip and I was still so jet lagged that it's kind of foggy. I want to go back one day and just chill.

SME: I'm a very experienced chiller.

Aubrey: We could have our mutual book signing in London!

SME: I'm in! Then I could use that British accent I've been working on. 'Cause that wouldn't irritate people.
So, Speaking of plans and book signings and accents... I've been pondering our little plot to sneak doctored bookstore catalogs (altered to contain my books because Aubrey's is in there already and I felt left out) into various stores while dressed as authors who are far more famous than we are.

For the sake of those reading this fabulous interview, I should explain, our thought - and it is frightening to think we have actually put a great deal of thought into this scheme - was that people in the bookstores will be so much in awe of the authors they think they are seeing, that they will fail to notice the contraband catalogs we are surreptitiously slipping onto counter tops.

Aubrey: I am so ready to see these disguises!

SME: I have for you pictures that show with alarming accuracy how we will look on the store surveillance cameras when we pull off this little scheme of ours.

Aubrey: Oh dear. I didn't think about the surveillance cameras.

SME: Trust me. I think we're good. I don't think we would even be recognized. Alright. Here's what you'll look like.

Aubrey: You're a GENIUS! No one would ever suspect us in a million years!

SME: I thought the name tag was a nice touch.

Aubrey: Yes. Do you think Janette will be taking out a restraining order?

SME: What Janette doesn't know can't hurt us.

SME: Now a photo of me in disguise, because this isn't going to work if we can't both slip by security.

Aubrey: Yours is great too! I'm still jealous that you get to do the accent.

SME: Except, all I can say is "'ello Guvnuh" and "Cheerio!"

Aubrey: You're JK Rowling! No one cares what you're saying!

SME: I probably should work on saying "Harry Potter." That might be a give away.

Aubrey: Yes. Practice your "Harry Potter" and the world is ours!

SME: Alright. You're totally styling in your RayBan Wayfarers. Thought I'd give you a bit of flair.

Aubrey: They look like the ones Edward wore in Twilight.

SME: Um. Yeah. Edward wore Wayfarers.

Aubrey: Last week you were Edward. Now it's my turn.

SME: I am noticing a trend in these interviews - at least one Twilight reference every Friday.
*quickly veers back into an "actual" interview* So your most recently released book is My Fairy Grandmother. Give us a quick blurb!

Aubrey: It's about Kaitlin, a girl who goes to visit her grandmother, Viola, who she's never met. Viola wants to tell Kaitlin her life story, but when she starts talking about how all the women in their family tree were fairies, Kaitlin knows this is no ordinary story. I like it because you have to decide for yourself whether you think Viola has had an incredible life or is just incredibly senile.

SME: Good blurb!

Aubrey: Why, thank you! It's hard to condense your book into two sentences.

SME: So in your soon-to-be-released novel, Santa Maybe, does someone discover that all the grandpas in their family tree were Santa Claus?

Aubrey: There are no grandpas in the story.

SME: Just so you know, every time I think of your book I get that song, "Santa Baby," stuck in my head.

Aubrey: And for this, I am sorry. But it is a good title.

SME: You can't tell me that wasn't done intentionally.

Aubrey: I can't take credit for it, though. My critique partner Melanie came up with it.

SME: In honor of the song, I have a little quiz for you.

Aubrey: I knew I should have studied!

SME: We're gonna do this eye-exam style. You know when you go to the eye doctor and they say "Which is clearer? 1 or 2? 2 or 3?" And they all look pretty much the same, so you're just guessing... That's what we're going to do.

Aubrey: That sounds fakeable.

SME: (Everything about this interview is fakeable) Let's begin. If you had to choose a gift to receive from Santa, would you choose a sable or a '54 Convertible, light blue?

Aubrey: Convertible, light blue. Fur should stay on animals where it belongs.

SME: Alright. Would you choose the convertible, or a yacht?

Aubrey: I'm still going to have to go with the convertible. I get seasick on boats. Of course, if it was a really big yacht...

SME: The convertible or the deed to a platinum mine?

Aubrey: Depends on whether the mine comes with... help.

SME: I'm assuming it means you get the profits and someone else does the work.

Aubrey: That sounds perfect. Sign me up.

SME: Okay. Platinum mine or a duplex AND checks (blank, signed by Mr. Claus)

Aubrey: I guess with the platinum mine you could buy said duplex, but I must admit the checks are tempting.

SME: So you're sticking with the mine?

Aubrey: Could I get a look at Santa's finances before I made the decision?

SME: Nope. This is a decision you must make in ignorance.

Aubrey: Sigh. I think I'd take the mine. Santa's VISA bill in January must be crippling.

SME: So very true. So, the mine or a tree trimmed with fab items straight from Tiffany's.

Aubrey: Wow. I am easily distracted by shiny things.

SME: Like diamonds. Which is the last thing on the list. Dare I even ask if it can compete with the mine?

Aubrey: Is this a new mine or a...mined mine?

SME: Again, ignorance.

Aubrey: You're kinda harsh with the info flow.

SME: I ask the hard-hitting questions. This is an interview not a chat over canasta.

Aubrey: Fair enough. I've stuck with the mine this long-- I can't abandon it now. Besides, I can buy diamonds with the proceeds.

SME: Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner. "The deed to a platinum mine." Now everyone who has Award-Winning Author Aubrey Mace on their Christmas shopping list knows what to buy.
Thought I'd throw in the "Award-winning" part so it sounds more legitimate. Plus, there's the whole issue of my all-consuming jealousy over the Whitney you won last year.

Aubrey: It'll be your turn next.

SME: If not, I have plans in place to obtain a certain previously-awarded Whitney for Best Romance of 2008. These plans are nefarious and entirely illegal, not to mention highly improbable.

Aubrey: It's been so quiet lately I wondered if you'd given up.

SME: Oh no. I simply mean to catch you unawares. In the meantime, I have devised another plan that will add to the enjoyment and potential success of this destined-to-occur signing of ours.

Aubrey: Tell me.

SME: I figure we should give the public what they want. Everyone is always worried about what shoes to match with an outfit, what purse goes with the shoes. It's all about pairings. I've worked out a list of book pairings to run past you - sort of a "We Go Together" of literature.

Aubrey: That sounds intriguing.

SME: Your book Spare Change paired with My book As You Are
  • Spare Change the female romantic lead needs money for cancer research, a very worthy cause
  • As You Are the female romantic lead needs money so she and her children aren't left destitute: again, a worthy cause.
Aubrey: I'm liking this already.

SME: Pairing # 2: My Fairy Grandmother, by You and The Price Paid, by Me
  • My Fairy Grandmother a young lady finds out her grandmother is a fairy
  • The Price Paid a young gentleman finds out his house is haunted.
    A little supernatural element going on in both.
Aubrey: It's almost uncanny, isn't it? Except I'm going to run out of books LONG before you do.

SME: No worries. I have a feeling we'll be at this when we're old and gray and senile.

Aubrey: Wouldn't that be awesome? And you could steal my Whitney quite easily then and tell me it was yours. I'd never know the difference.

SME: So perhaps biding my time is the best strategy. *does some quick, yet deep, pondering*
Pairing #3, 4 & 5: Santa Maybe paired with Affectations/Drops of Gold/Through All Hopes
  • Santa Maybe is a romance that takes place around Christmastime;
  • Affectations/Drops of Gold/Through All Hopes are romances that take place around Christmastime
Aubrey: I've really got to get my hands on more of your books!

SME: And I, apparently, need to find a new favorite holiday!

Aubrey: Nah. Everyone loves a Christmas romance, right? At least, I'm hoping they do.

SME: So how close to Christmas does Santa Maybe come out?

Aubrey: Amazon has the release date listed as September 8th.

SME: So very soon.

Aubrey: I hope so. Because it's going to be hard to sell in January.

SME: True.

Aubrey: It's a very fun story. Even scrooges will like it. (The cover blurb says so.)

SME: And cover blurbs are like hips - they don't lie.

Now on to the portion of the interview where I draw a portrait of my new friend.

*the sound of an expertly utilized drawing implement can be heard working in the background*

SME: So are you ready to see your portrait? I've taken special care with this one. I think you'll like it.

Aubrey: I thought you'd never ask!

Aubrey: I LOVE it. I'm totally framing that.

SME: I sneaked in a little subliminal advertising there with the shoes.

Aubrey: Any advertising is appreciated, subliminal or otherwise.

SME: So, to wrap up. My final question... Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Aubrey: 1. I got to talk about sugar cookies. And cream cheese.
2. I got to see our potential famous author costumes.
3. I have a much better chance of getting a platinum mine this year.
4. Shameless plug for all three of my books.
5. Got a chance to chat with one of my favorite partners-in-crime!
6. Oh...and an awesome free portrait/poster!

Aubrey: Yeah, I listed six things. Just because I can.

SME: Well, fellow-criminal, thanks for coming by and plugging shamelessly. Savor a sugar cookie and cream cheese in my honor at some point in the very near future. Enjoy the free portrait - it is a masterpiece.

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Wednesday. Let's go walkabout.

Wanna go on an adventure? You wanna? You wanna?

The last week has been a journey for me. Only one week after learning that Covenant will be publishing an actual book that I actually wrote, I'm neck-deep in assignments. The experience has been rather like wandering through the outback with a vague destination in mind and only the beginnings of a map.

So I figured, as I'm wandering out in the vast wilderness of the publishing industry, learning the ins and outs, I might as well take along some of my mates.

Walkabout, Week 1:

I spent the first 48 hours in a state of euphoria-induced shock. My initial determination to dive right into the list my editor (still love saying that) sent me was squelched by the entrance of some unidentified virus into our home. So, six days after the fact I am finally hitting that list.

In case you're curious, I've been asked to provide:
  • my manuscript (ms) resubmitted, formatted according to some very detailed specifications
  • a one-page summary of the ms
  • a chapter-by-chapter summary of the ms
  • descriptions of the major characters, locations, themes, important symbols/items, crucial events, important words/phrases - all of which will help in cover design and marketing (Did you have any idea that this was how the fantastic designers figure these things out? I always wondered. This walkabout is proving very informative.)
  • a static author bio
  • a book-specific biographical blurb
  • at least 5 title suggestions - not that any of these will necessarily be used, just a chance for me to give the marvelous folks who will be designing the cover, etc. some ideas and input - again, Who knew!?!?
  • a professional author photo - Thanks to Claire Waite Photography, I already have some very professional, very snazzy author photos!! (Do yourself a favor and take a look at her work. She is fabulous!)
  • Sources and permissions for any lyrics, quotes, artwork, photos, etc. that were used in the book. Mine didn't happen to have any, but I hadn't even thought about that. Definitely necessary, but something that hadn't occurred to me.
  • my contact info
  • availability for signings and other promotional activities (Doesn't that sound fun? If I had a book signing, surely some of you would show up, right?)
  • I was also given a heads up on what I will need to provide should my publisher decide to make my little work of literary wonder (see, I'm already working on the self-promotion) into an audio book, though the actual work on that wouldn't begin for several more months.
Phew! Are you as tired as I am? And that was a summary! Most of those items have multiple items within them. I'm gonna be busy.

I have only had to contact my editor (smiling in continued glee at the sound of those two words coming from me) three times so far asking for clarification/explanation/descriptions of these things. Thankfully, he used small words designed be understood by a 4-year-old since that is about how informed I feel about this whole process.

Maybe I'll be able to tell you by this time next week that I've completed the list. If not, it won't be for lack of trying.

I'm excited and overwhelmed and confused and nervous and hyper and exhausted all at the same time.

Overall, though, I'm chuffed. This walkabout's gonna be a beaut.
- (How's that for a little aussie slang?)

PS - Don't forget to come back for "I Need Friends" Friday. This week's friend: the incredible Aubrey Mace, award-winning author and interviewee-extraordinaire!


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